Tip – Don't forget about History

Importing your photosHey folks. I’m out in the Palouse region of Washington state teaching my GAPW workshop and getting up at oh-dark-thirty every morning. Seriously, we were driving to our sunrise shoot today (well Thursday which is when I’m writing this) at 4:10am and the sky was already blue. By 4:45 there was sun and by 5am it was bright as can be. It’s even more odd when we were shooting the sunset at 8:45pm that same evening. That is one long day but I’ve got a great class here and we’re having a really fun time. Anyway, on to the tip…

I always forget how cool the History panel is in Lightroom. It’s basically undo’s forever, of whatever you’ve done to your photo. If you’re in the Develop module and you’d like to jump back to a specific point in the editing history of your photo, just look at the bottom left side of the interface for the History panel. Lightroom shows you every single history state that your image has gone through. It’s just like Photoshop but when close your image in Photoshop, Photoshop forgets about the history. Lightroom doesn’t. This really helps though when you’re not sure what point you want to step back to and you don’t feel like pressing Control/Command – Z a bunch of times. Just look for the specific step in the History and click on it to jump to that point. Hope you have a great weekend everyone! Get some extra sleep for me :)


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  1. i did somethin stupied and i dunno if i can fix it in photoshop so i hope u can help me , lsn i saved some drawing over another and when i went to history option i found that it limited to jst 10 steps so am jst wandering if there anyway to get my drawing back waaaaaaaaa3 :(:( :'(

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  2. Hi Matt,
    Maybe old news to you, but just a great (accidental) find for me today: Ctrl/Apple + / brings up a screen with shortcuts particular to every module.

    I read your blog from Rotterdam, The Netherlands and love it. Thought this might be a helpful tip to your readers too!

    (Could no find an email address to send this tip to…

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  3. Hi Matt,

    Your videos have really given me a lot of confidence with Lightroom. Thanks!

    I would also love to know how to selectively remove certain steps from my history. I am aware that settings can be reset to their default values by double clicking, but a shorter history is easier to read.

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  4. Hi Matt;

    I have the same question as some of the others… if I have 10 steps in my history but only want to omit # 6, do I have to undo 7,8,9,10 to get to it?

    Keep up the great work!
    – Dan

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  5. I’m not sure where to write this because I couldn’t find a general inquiry section…. but, as a photographer that uses the color labels daily – how do you make sure of the white and black color labels that are shown in the library filter as well as the sort filter at the bottom of the library screen?


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  6. Hello Matt, would you post some of your images as I believe I was watching your group last night. It is wonderful country here. Hope you had a great time.

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  7. I have the same question as Marvin. How can I delete a step in the middle of the history?

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  8. I find the history panel useful, but have a question: Is there a way to delete steps that turned out to be useless, and that I’ll never need in the future? (If so, I haven’t found it yet.)

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  9. I love the history panel and use it often, but wish that there were a time stamp associated with each item in the history. More than once, I’ve liked my edits from a past session but come in and start doing some new tweaks. I sometimes think it would be good to go back to what the picture was like at a specific time – like the last editing session, yesterday, a month ago, or the last export time. I know that one can build a snapshot, but if there were a way to see the date and time of each change, that would be useful. Enjoy your trip, Matt!

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  10. Having access to the history is one of my favorite things about Lightroom. It helps me remember what I did on photos that turned out well.

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  11. OMG. I was literally thinking about this in the car yesterday- I knew there had to be a History Panel! Thanks!

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  12. Yep! Living in spokane is either no light (in the winter) or infinite (seeming) light in the summer. 😉 It’s kind of a pain either way. ha. Wish I was out shooting with you on the Palouse but rather happy to be sleeping in till 6:30a. :)

    I use History ALL the time. SUPER great feature of LR.

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  13. Any “must-do” shooting locations out there? I’ve seen some great shoots of the farmlands ….

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  14. Hi,

    I have a question about same artefacts that happens if using the a adjustment brush with auto masking on and very fine structures.
    If you take a look on the example picture at the website you can see that the border between the sky and the three leaves is red. This is a automasking artefact happens as I try to reduce the exposure of the sky to see the clouds.
    Is their a simple way to avoid this effect?

    Kind Regards


    You can send us a Photoshop Lightroom tip or a showcase of your own using this form in addition to any feedback, please include it in the body of the message.

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  15. What I dont get, is why they made the undo function when you press ctrl+z remember when you change modules?! Why in the world do I need a undo function for that? its just annoying.

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  16. I love the early mornings! Is there any way of getting the history panel to show changes after you have exported the image to another computer / hard drive?

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  17. I have the impression that a larger history panel, slows down the loading of your image(s). Is this correct? Who else has this experience?

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  18. Its tough Matt but in the winter you can sleep in till 9am and still get the sunrise, eat lunch and then shoot the sunset.

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  19. Welcome to Easter Washington, Matt. The “right side” of the state (LOL). You’ll notice, it never gets REALLY dark here!

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